In over 16 years of cycling around Manchester I’ve only been knocked off my bike twice. This morning was the second.
Despite the fact that it was entirely the driver’s fault I can’t help but blame myself. I usually pay a lot of attention to cars pulling up at side roads ahead, expecting them to be idiots and just rail out without spotting, or looking for, me. (To their credit, most drivers don’t live down to my expectations.) Going through the Sharston industrial estate this morning I let my mind wander. I may have been worrying about the large roundabout up ahead, or thinking about sex (it had been at least 14 seconds) or relationships. Whatever it was, I didn’t do my usual assessment on the metallic orange Fiat Punto that was approaching the end of the side road ahead and didn’t realise it was sailing straight on until it was too late.
I did just enough braking and dodging to avoid broken bones- the car missed my leg but still hit the front wheel and took the bike out from under me. Turning the air blue I bounced off the car’s A pillar and managed to get my hand inside the open driver’s side window as I went down.
Sat on the wet ground, but certain I’d suffered no worse than bruises, the first thing I did was inform the driver that he really should watch where he’s going. He just stared at me blankly, shock just beginning to filter through his beanie hatted head. He asked a few times if I was okay. I guess I should have taken contact details in case the collision has damaged the headset (the wheel still spun fine), but you never think of these things when you’ve just dodged harm. I sent him on his way with a final admonition to pay more attention in future, remounted and carried on the ride to work.
There’s very little I can do to become a safer cyclist. I could, and plan to, mount more lights and reflectors on my steed. But this collision happened in near total daylight when lights would have made no difference to my profile. I’ll just have to remember that some drivers are idiots and I must judge them all by the standards of their worst if I’m to avoid future injuries.